Palm Jumeirah celebrated its grand opening with a multi-million dollar, star-studded party and a blinding fireworks display, in complete contrast, the topping off of the Burj Dubai has passed virtually unnoticed. With the addition of its spire and beacon, Burj Dubai has reached its highest height at 818 meters, officially the tallest man-made structure on earth. Once occupied, it will gain the title of tallest building in each of the four categories in the Council for Tall Building’s and Urban Habitat’s criteria: height to the structural top, to the top of the roof, to the highest occupied floor and to the tip of the spire, pinnacle, antenna, mast or flagpole.
The SOM designed tower encompasses 160 inhabitable floors for residential, commercial, hotel, and entertainment facilities as well as the world largest shopping mall, and is the centerpiece of the US$20 Billion Downtown Burj Dubai development by Emaar Properties Ltd.
Although the Burj is not yet complete, (cladding works, sewage and final planning and checks need to be made), the passing of the topping off without celebration is telling of a generally somber atmosphere in Dubai as the construction industry struggles through the financial crisis. As things stand the building is scheduled for completion in September this year when there will most likely be grander recognition.
Niki May Young